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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Nelo Vingada will stay as Malaysia coach despite poor record - TMJ

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president is standing by his winless national head coach Nelo Vingada, who suffered his fourth defeat in five matches in AFC Asian Cup qualifying on Tuesday as Malaysia lost 2-0 to Hong Kong.

The Crown Prince of Johor (TMJ) insists the Portuguese boss should be given more time, despite the fact that Malaysia's results have got worse since he took charge in May.

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"It is not fair if we want to change [Nelo] Vingada now. I have to give the team time, and I have to give him what he needs," TMJ said during a chat session on Wednesday night.

"But we cannot expect changes to occur in such a short time. Even if I changed the coach to one of our local coaches, we will not get immediate results."

Malaysia's abysmal performance in their second qualifying defeat in Group B came after captain Safiq Rahim received a red card for a deliberate stamp on Hong Kong midfielder Daniel Cancela Rodriguez just before half-time.

While TMJ feels Safiq shouldn't take the blame for the loss, he says there must be a shake up in squad selection.

"Safiq wasn't the only one playing, so we can't put the blame on him alone. But I also feel that some players in the national team shouldn't be there. We shouldn't keep picking these players," TMJ said.

Malaysia still have an outside chance of qualifying for the 2019 showcase, despite earning only one point out of a possible nine in their three opening matches.

They are four points behind second-placed Hong Kong, having played a game less.

Vingada, however, has limited time to mend the cracks ahead of tough matches against North Korea (home and away), and Lebanon (away). The Lebanese have all but booked their place in the finals after a 5-0 thumping of North Korea.

The former Portugal coach says he's determined to take the team to the United Arab Emirates in 2019, despite the odds being stacked against him.

"I do not give up, I'm very optimistic and realistic. When I was coach of Saudi Arabia and Portugal, I was at a different level," Vingada told The New Straits Times.

"I believe in my staff and players and they know who I am. I can go anytime and still keep my head up because I am giving my best.

"At half-time, Safiq apologised to the team and recognised it was a mistake and it won't happen again. I hope and I'm sure Safiq realises this kind of thing cannot happen at this level. The referee took the right decision."

Despite his success with Portugual and Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, Vingada has struggled as a head coach in recent seasons, with a winning rate of just over 20 percent.

Malaysia will next face North Korea in a rescheduled match that was postponed three times due to political tensions.

The Asian Football Confederation are expected to make a decision on the date and venue of the match in the coming days.

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